Dairy-Free and Casein-Free

DSC_0596Cutting out dairy in addition to gluten can be a real challenge.  But, there are some great substitutions you can make, so that you can still make most recipes work.

For recipes with cheese, I just cut it.  (heehee!)  No really, I just leave it out.  I never knew that nachos (piled with beans, tomatoes, salsa, etc..), pizza, enchiladas, and sandwiches could still taste great without the cheese.  It seems like cheese is the main player here, but really it just bosses the other ingredients around and bullies itself to the main stage.  Once you get it out of the way, you can appreciate all those other ingredients better, and that’s really a self-esteem boost to those other foods.

For a milk replacement in baked goods, I like to use Vanilla Almond Milk (sweetened) by Almond Breeze.

For a spreadable butter, I use Smart Balance, and for baked goods, I cook with a vegetable shortening by Spectrum.

For CHOCOLATE, you’ll need to stay away from milk chocolate, but you can eat some dark chocolate.  They also have dairy-free chocolate chips that are very good, made by Enjoy Life, which you can buy on Amazon and bake with or eat by the handful right out of the bag.

There are soy-based products for most things too, but they are so expensive that I just decide to do without.  I find plenty of other things to eat, which is a true strength of mine.  I have great talent in eating.

As with gluten, if you are eating casein-free, you need to pay close attention to hidden ingredients.  With the new allergy labeling laws, most things are clearly labeled that contain milk.  Sometimes it’s weird stuff too, like Cool Ranch Doritos.  Also, when eating out, you’ll need to find out what ingredients they use, especially if they cook in butter or add milk to a sauce.

It does add a more difficult component to do both gluten and dairy free, but it can be done.  And for about 30% of those with gluten intolerance, it needs to be done, because they also have dairy intolerances.

If you have been gluten-free for a little while and still have some health issues going on, you might try cutting out dairy as well.  It just might be the next step you need.  Good luck!

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